Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Remarks on John F. Kerry

When I finally got up around noon today, I thought of going to my computer and throwing John Kerry overboard. I was planning on doing an “I told you so” type post, considering I long ago thought Kerry would be a weak candidate. I’d be able to write a compelling analysis on why Kerry ended up losing by 3 % of the national vote.

But when I got down to thinking hard, I realized that John Kerry did the best he could. While there were certainly stronger Democratic choices, Kerry did a tremendous job in overcoming his many shortcomings. Like it or not, much of the nation despises the northeast in general, and specifically Massachusetts. Kerry cannot change the fact that he is a Massachusetts resident. And historically, it’s hard for a non-Southern Democrat to win Presidential elections.

Secondly, in general Kerry does have a fairly liberal record. Despite the protests of anti-war activists, Kerry has a 20-year record of supporting liberal ideals. I respect him for that, but it’s a hindrance for Democratic candidates. In fairness, the Republicans would have found a way to call Joe Lieberman “the most liberal Senator in America”. When the Republicans called Kerry a “Northeastern liberal”, they were accurate. The problem was that we had a hard time labeling Bush as a “radical conservative”. The legacy of Newt Gingrich is that the meaning of the word liberal was bastardized and is the death knell for so many Democrats.

I don’t consider this loss to be a total embarrassment. It’s easy to say that George W. Bush is the worst President of the last 100 years, or perhaps even in our history. There’s ample evidence to suggest that is a true statement. But Bush and his team are splendid campaigners. Remember that George Bush has only lost one election in his lifetime, and that was in 1978. In fact, Bush played a very large role in helping his father get elected in 1988. I’m trying to be as honest as possible here. Bush was able to beat a very popular incumbent governor in Texas, Ann Richards. In 2000, Bush defeated literally peace and prosperity, although most would concede that Gore pulled out that election.

Analysts say that George Bush’s campaign was the most effective modern Presidential campaign. By Election Day, George W. Bush was able to consolidate his Republican base, despite many Republicans’ disagreement with his policies. I felt that the energy behind Bush was being underestimated. Like it or not, Bush has rabid supporters. Many of these Jesus Freaks feel that Bush is the messiah. The fervor that they had for their man overcame the Democrats’ vehement opposition to Bush and his policies. It’s yet to be determined how efficient or inefficient our GOTV efforts were. It’s possible that both groups did a great job and is evidenced by the relatively close nature of the election results.

That’s enough about Bush. This post is about John Kerry. I believe Kerry was too sophisticated to connect with ordinary Americans. In reality, John Kerry’s “flip-flops” weren’t contradictions. Kerry understands that the world cannot be viewed simply in black and white terms. Bush connected with the average American because he views the world as good vs. bad and right vs. wrong. The world doesn’t work that way. Nuances positions are to be commended, not mocked by right-wing spinners. Kerry did try to get better at sound-byting his message. I give him credit for trying to avoid so-called “Senate speak”.

I noticed Kerry become a warm and endearing man as the campaign progressed. This is a man that has grown on me. Back in January, I remember writing an entry where I listed Kerry as my 9th favorite candidate out of nine Democrats. I really did not like John Kerry. But once he got the nomination, I became attached to him. I noticed how he became more genuine down the stretch of this campaign. I was holding back tears today when I listened to Kerry address his loyal volunteers. This is a man who was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support shown to him.

I used to think that Kerry would go down with Presidential losers like Mondale and Dukakis. Now, I think Kerry will have a special place in the heart of many Democrats. It’s safe to say that Kerry’s presidential ambitions are over. He got his chance and was unable to come through. I don’t think he’ll even be a candidate to replace the defeated Tom Daschle as minority leader. He has two years left in his Senate term and could conceivable seek another one. Maybe he’ll try to unseat Shit Romney as governor in 2006. I’d make him a solid favorite to win that election.

I want people to remember how hard Kerry fought for us these last eight months. I have no doubt that Kerry had our backs. I hope that people refrain from throwing this man overboard. It’s now time to move on and fight for the soul of our party. It’s indisputable that John Kerry loves this party and country and that he’ll continue working for us.



Blogger Eric Cioffoletti said...

Yes I cried at John Kerry's closing speech. It was an emotional afternoon. And I don't usually waste time crying you understand but this I felt was important.

I will always respect Kerry. Honestly, I don't understand why people got so bored by his speeches. Even early on, I thought it was doing a great job.

It's sad that American politics is about as dense as High School politics sometimes. It's all about popularity and Bush had that going for him more in his personality.

November 4, 2004 at 4:03 PM  

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